Claire Williams reflects on F1 turnaround in past two years

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BIRMINGHAM – Claire Williams believes that there was no luck involved in the turnaround that has seen Williams Martini Racing move from the bottom of the midfield towards the top of the Formula 1 pecking order in the past two years.

After enduring a barren run of form that saw the team finish no higher than sixth in the constructors’ championship between 2008 and 2013, Williams has since resurged to come third in both 2014 and 2015.

Drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa (pictured) have forged a good partnership and enjoy strong working relationships with the team, while the car design has been complemented well by the Mercedes power unit.

Speaking at the Autosport International show in Birmingham, England on Saturday, deputy team principal Williams spoke about the team’s revival and said how it made a conscious decision in 2013 to make a fresh start in many areas.

“I think where we were in 2011, 2012, 2013, we finished I think ninth, eighth and ninth, and then the past two consecutive years, just two years after that, we have taken third in the constructors’ championship against teams which have much bigger budgets with far greater resources and personnel,” Williams said.

“We’ve managed to hold our ground and take third. We’ve done the most extraordinary transformation at Williams and I always say it’s not by luck. People say ‘you’re so lucky, you know, everything turning around at Williams’. It was not by luck, it was by design.

“Everybody really got on board with the transformation there, the board and the executive committee at Williams needed to undertake and bring in change. You can’t just keep go racing hoping things will be different.”

However, Williams believes that the team faces an even greater challenge now as it tries to bridge the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari at the front of the pack in F1.

“The hardest piece of the puzzle really is now,” Williams said. “How do we close the gap to the Ferraris and the Mercedes and fight for a championship?

“Turning around when you’re doing so badly, you’ve obviously got so many things wrong in your organisation, you know what they are, you’ve got to change them.

“But this is the hardest piece of work for us now, moving forwards.”